I'm getting tired of having to spoonfeed this to some of you people individually. As it turns out though, thankfully, I can edit the OP so at least read this. I am not arguing against love, relationships or commitment, or anything the like. Quite the opposite, I'm saying they're good enough on their own without the need for the legal paperwork, money-waste and label of marriage. I welcome any opinion whether I like it or not, but not when you're missing all of the actual points like a little boy splashing the rim and substitute your own. No one's forcing you to read the whole thread, but at least read the damn OP of the thread next time or don't bother. It's getting frustrating having to read through your condescending tones just to find out you just didn't pay attention.
Hey. I'm not sure if I made a thread before but I'd like to put some of my thoughts on marriage here and see what all of you guys think. I see many of you as much smarter than me, and I think I can learn some. This got a little long, and I don't know if I should post it as a blog instead, but since my objective is to get some sort of exchange/discussion going a thread is more fitting. This is my opinion only. I'm not going to talk about gay-marriage or things like that, we all already know enough about that. I want to talk about marriage itself.
My stance on marriage is not that everybody should be allowed to have one, including gays. My stance is that nobody should get married, including straight people. And I'm often confused as to why atheists, secular intelligent people, would want to engage in this antiquated, forcefully contrived and often religious social construct.
I've said this in one form or another before. People like to think about marriage as this magical bond between two people in love, but for the bigger part of its history marriage wasn't about love at all. We know that in the past ages marriage was only used as a form of sales-contract, a political relationship building tool between two parties, and a way for the rulers to keep tabs on their subjects, while making sure they don't run amok fucking and raping each other aimlessly. It was an easy social structure to introduce into a primitive society that would otherwise kill each other over women to rape (which they did, and still do regardless). As a religious construct, it has been solely used for the above mentioned purposes, plus turn women into property. We need only look at some religious men and their harem of wives, to see that in that marriage women have become nothing more than a commodity. In marriage, even today, women are often nothing more than merchandise. Why do you think religious men always emphasize the importance of staying pure and staying away from sex until marriage? Because some men have very small penises. And some men with small penises are willing to pay high prices for a certain commodity: virginity. They want sex with virgins, because the small-dicked man knows the virgin doesn't know any better, so he has a confidence boost. Same reason they marry old geezers to little children, under the ruse of "our prophet did it." It's all about keeping the business running. Tell girls not to fuck. Slut-shame them should they dare to have sex outside of marriage. Call them whores, sluts, whatever. Put peer-pressure on them. Because if they do, the market will run dry.
There are a some popular arguments for/about marriage that I'd like to take on.
- It's a public declaration of loyalty. / It shows commitment.
This is a common error. Marriage doesn't make someone any more loyal then s/he would've been anyway, and if it does it's either because of peer-pressure (look up countries with the lowest divorce rates) or simple disingenuity. If you are in a relationship (which is not open), then you should be able to stay loyal and make it clear you're committed all by yourself, without a ring on your finger to vouch for you. Saying marriage ads to the commitment and shows loyalty is really no different than, for example, saying the bible gives us strength and hope. We should be able to have those things by ourselves, and those who cling to it show only a lack of those traits in themselves; just as someone who can not be as loyal without marriage shows a lack of confidence in their loyalty to begin with.
Now there also many people who say that they want a marriage to make sure their partner is committed. To me, a person who says they cannot expect loyalty and commitment unless their partner agrees to marry them is a person who displays a severe lack of trust, confidence and faith in their partner. A crucial flaw which wouldn't work out too well for a relationship to begin with.
I'm quoting the next point from a post from another member, MikeLong, here. I originally wanted to answer you in that thread, but the lack of a reply button was getting on my nerves, sorry.
- If shit goes south, marriage makes us try harder to preserve the relationship, rather than simply cast it aside as just another failed relationship.
Again, I think this should go without having to be married. If the relationship is worth it you should put all effort in, but not because you think "Oh well, we're married now. And it's kinda too much work to get divorced anyway." If marriage is your only incentive to keep a relationship alive, it's not a relationship of love as it is a cold iron chain locking you together.
More importantly though, just because a relationship is over doesn't mean it's failed. We fall in love, and then often we get jaded, and it's over. But that doesn't mean it wasn't worthwhile, that it was a waste of time, or that it failed. We experience something nice, and then it's time to move on. What marriage does is hold you trapped, after you've had enough. And I believe that the idea of an ended relationship being a "failed" relationship is something, more often than not, pushed into our culture by clergy. They are mostly the ones we hear bitching about divorce rates in secular countries and how it's somehow directly related to the moral decline in that country. That's bullshit. The only thing a divorce means is that two people no longer want to be together. What does the reason matter? Clergy often pretend like it's because people turn gay and the men divorce their wives because they want to go to a gay bar and have wild gay sex out of wedlock (ironically the solution would be to allow same-sex marriage, but I digress). But even if it were so, so what? How would it make those two people any more happy if they were continuously trapped in a marriage? Even when, at first, only one of the two partners wants a divorce, to me it would be much more horrible to force the other person to stay married. I certainly wouldn't want to be in a relationship with someone who doesn't want me anymore. Platonic love doesn't end well for either party.
So what I'm rambling on about it that ending a relationship is not always a bad thing. Call me a cynic, but I believe that it's a good time even most of the time. Something sucks, you work at it. But at some point you have to stop and accept that it might just not be worth it to try and pick up all the pieces off of the floor so you can glue them together and hope it sticks for just a little while longer. At some point you just have to leave the pieces lie and move the fuck on.
- marriage is the sacred bond between a man and a woman
Obviously, this is an argument that comes from the theist camp. Now I'm not going to argue about how retarded it is to suggest that gays have any less of a right to a marriage, we already know that, but instead tell you why I think religion loves pairing different genders so much. It's because man + woman = baby. Baby = another unit in the army. That's it. Nothing profound to it. Sacred bond my ass. It's about growing numbers like a virus. Rulers in all ages understood that if you want to build a powerful nation, what you need are people. Many many people. As many as possible. Living conditions, quality of life - doesn't matter. If he can hold a weapon and become cannon-fodder he's good enough. Same reason religion values men more than women. They're physically stronger. Same reason clergy are against abortion, it kills potential units and dwindles their numbers. (It also kills off all the pussy in the age range they like.)
- We do it for the civil / legal / financial rights.
I actually don't know enough about this to be able to fairly comment, so I'd love some input. Obviously I still don't like it. I know people who have been together for years but have no intentions of getting married for any benefits, my own sister included, and they seem to lead happy lives. But are the benefits worth compromising your integrity?Is there no other way to achieve those rights? Would it be at all possible for us to change this? I'm aware that gays fight for marriage because they want the rights that come with it. Now I remember Strega saying in a different thread that if they made some other civil construct which would allow her, as a gay person, to have all the benefits of a usual marriage provides, she'd do it right away. Even if it wasn't called a marriage. Do you agree with this, or do you think that, if anything, both straight people and gays should get the exact same thing? In which case it cannot be a religious union, because all major religions are homophobic. And so...I'm tired.
That's it for now. I actually have much more to say, but I kinda already wrote more than usual and I'm getting bored and I'm sure I've bored most of you by now too. I might add some later. Cut me some slack!
Well, and honestly, said.
I only caught wind of this conversation when it hit the list of What's New Today. I'd like to comment by saying that I feel a sense of relief to know there are other people who see marriage in a critical light. I too think it shouldn't be necessary to declare one's commitment by marrying. I think it is reasonable to have a way of distinguishing casual partnerships from committed partnerships for the sake of conferring legal rights. I just wish we didn't make that state a "marriage" but instead a modern "civil union." I feel that the history and symbolism of marriage are more about property/ownership of women and children than the modern ideals we associate with a loving, committed partnership. Personally, I wouldn't want to associate my relationship with that. So, it is a relief to find I'm not the only one who sees marriage as an institution that needs to be modified/replaced. Whether I end up in a "hetero" or "homo" -sexual commitment, I DO want all the legal rights couples deserve, so I'll probably have a marriage to get that--a feminist, atheist marriage that will offend 70% of the guests.
Meh. Fuck 'em. It's your wedding.
I think about marriage a lot as well, and usually come to most of the same conclusions as you have. I don't like the idea of marriage and though I do hope to find the kind of partner that is worthy of getting married, I don't care if I ever actually get married or not...but I am not so against it that I will refuse to get married by principle or anything. Though I will never need marriage to tell me that my relationship is real etc. if I met the right person/if they wanted it, I would probably be OK with it. Most likely, I would marry someone for the legal side of things, and then only because we have kids together, but marriage wouldn't be a necessary thing - it would be a possibility to consider. For example, when my relationship is in the right place and we want to have kids together, we will start trying, whether or not we are married. Like you I don't know much about the actual legal benefits, so it may not be worth it at all, but if it is, its something to think about when kids come into the picture.
One interesting aspect to marriage is weddings. I like the idea of the big party with all your friends and family etc. but for the most part every tradition surrounding weddings I can't stand. Obviously this is partly due to the fact that weddings have such religious roots, but even things that can be done in a secular wedding annoy me...for example, women being soo obsessed with dresses and flowers and spending waaay too much money on everything. If i ever have reason to get married or even to just have a big celebration of a relationship, it will be a casual party, and the purpose will be for everyone to have a good time and for me and my partner to have everyone we love in one place, having a good time, enjoying everyone's company, etc. All you need for that is people. And probably music :-)
People get married because they are in 'love'. People get married because society thinks they should, it is a 'tradition'. I was married, big wedding, all the trimmings. In the end, didn't mean much. In Australia, one only has to be together for two years, de facto, all the rights of a married couple. Where there is no stigma of 'living together', more and more people are not getting married. I don't regret getting married per se, but anybody who thinks marriage is why people stay together - wrong - I have been with my 'partner', partner denotes equality, love it, for over twenty five years, no marriage.
People stay together because they respect each other, concern for each other, support each other, have fun together - easy really, when you find the right person for you.
I personally don't care who is married, who is not married. People have a choice in a civilzed country, but they will soon learn, marriage doesn't protect one, and that the union will last "till death us do part".
And you seem to have chosen very well --
@Cara - With the complicated machinations of 'families', elope, secular ceremony, no hassle, no family arguments of who got preferential treatment. Spend the cost of a wedding on a fabulous holiday, or put toward a deposit on a house. That is how much they can cost :(
Yeah, the boyfriend and I have a friend who was married a few years ago. They've since had a kid (four now) and divorced. That poor guy is still paying for the wedding. What a crock of shit, eh? She's the one that left, too. So now he's saddled with the bill for something he doesn't even get to enjoy anymore. I feel pretty confident we'll elope; I just can't deal with the family drama, and I have no desire to be paying for something so wasteful for years to come.
Cara I (unlike some) strongly encourage you and your fiance to do it the way you want to do it. My preference is similar to yours; the wedding should be small. (I know a couple that hired a photographer, then did their wedding, no officiant, no witnesses; they simply exchanged their vows on the 4th of July under the fireworks. Legal here in Colorado.) Maybe you can throw a party afterwards, maybe not. Save your money for the honeymoon and setting up (or enhancing) your home; the marriage is NOT about the wedding but about the life together.
He chased me till I caught him :)
And now you've got him right where he wants you!